Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Director General of Dubai Watch Week and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Seddiqi Holding sat down with A&E magazine this month to discuss Dubai Watch Week 2023.
What can we expect from this year’s edition of Dubai Watch Week?
Dubai Watch Week is set to be the biggest edition yet, with over 60 leading watch brands participating – the highest participation to date. Our programmes will return with some exciting Masterclasses, Creative Hubs, and Horology Forum panels that are free to attend and open to the public. We look forward to providing a platform for the meeting of minds across our industry and industries alike – the event truly is a moment to highlight innovation and fine watchmaking.
What are the prerequisites when selecting the brands participating in this event?
There are no such prerequisites – Dubai Watch Week is pleased to welcome all brands in the industry. We constantly strive to present a diverse mix of brands – including those in our portfolio, independents, and brands new to the region. It is especially rewarding to introduce our clients to new brands and watchmakers as we further cement our vision to strengthen our platform as a bridge between key industries. In this edition, we have over ten brands that are first-time participants, and we are keen to hear their experience of the event.
What do you hope to achieve with this year’s event, and what’s the current vision for the platform?
The goal of this year’s event is to grow beyond expected and establish the entity as a significant cultural event in Dubai which caters to a wide audience. To this end, our vision is to continue to establish Dubai Watch Week as a premier intersection for horology, design, and art and provide a platform to connect thought leaders and brands.
We notice a lot of exciting panels and talks are taking place – What are some of the highlights we should add to our calendar?
Certainly, there are many insightful and interesting discussions; we are also introducing our first-ever Arabic panel tackling family businesses in the UAE. Additionally, we are bringing back the debate format, which we launched during the travelling edition of Horology Forum in 2022. The upcoming edition features a distinguished roster of globally renowned speakers and moderators, including François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet; Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding; Daniela Dufour, Watchmaker; Jean Arnault, Watch Director at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton; Nicholas Foulkes, Author & Historian; George Bamford, Founder of Bamford Watch Department; Austen Chu, Founder & CEO of Wristcheck; Tim Mosso, Watch Specialist & Media Director at WatchBox and Wei Koh, Founder of Grail Watch and Revolution Watch.
Dubai has firmly established itself as a crucial hub in the region for the industry – how would you describe the industry here today?
As we enter the 6th edition, the feedback and response received from attendees, including media, novices, and brands, cements the importance of the event in the Dubai and international luxury events calendar. Dubai, as a central hub, represents a vibrant sector, one that is the perfect place to witness such a mingling of minds. We consistently see an increased appetite and eagerness to learn more and are proud to further pioneer a platform that caters to this.
How has it developed here over the last few years?
Over the past few years, the watch industry in Dubai has flourished due to an increased demand for luxury timepieces and the city’s global reputation for luxury. Dubai Watch Week’s focus on innovation has further elevated its prominence in the industry, making it a dynamic and educational platform for all.
Spanning over 100,000 sq. ft, visitors will enjoy immersive experiences with over 60 brands set to participate and with over 20 launches taking place at Dubai Watch Week. This year, we will have more stand-alone brands, which include brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, TUDOR, Hublot, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, Van Cleef & Arpels, CHANEL and Bulgari in addition to the Brands Exhibition space.
What opportunities do you see for incoming brands looking to move to the region?
Dubai Watch Week’s ever-growing presence and diverse offering present a gateway to a wide audience, attracting collectors, enthusiasts, and novices alike who are keen to learn from and about iconic and new up-and-coming brands. Participating in events like Dubai Watch Week provides brands with increased exposure and a platform to showcase their collections to a discerning and international audience, elevating their visibility in our region.
How important do you think it is today for watchmakers to create a lifestyle or experience around their brands?
We encourage all brands to provide and present their collections in an experiential format, as this is especially important for those experiencing and learning about a brand on-site. For novices, this will further develop their passion and awareness, and for keen enthusiasts’, this allows brands to establish a deeper connection with them while cultivating loyalty.
How do you think consumer habits have changed over the last few years, and what do you think they are looking for from watches today?
Over the past few years, consumer habits in the watch industry have evolved significantly. It is more important than ever to gauge the client’s interest and look at what each brand has to offer, as each consumer is different and may value different factors such as brand heritage, craftsmanship, the use of unique techniques and elements and much more. It is important, now more than ever, that DWW is the spearhead in the calendar, providing new and engaging experiences to drive passion for horology in our region further.
As a leader in the industry, how do you ensure you are always ahead of the game and supporting brands as well as moving forward?
It is not just about the brands but also the artisans, designers, watchmakers and artists – who are leaders or newcomers in their respective fields. Our goal is to nurture and incubate talent via Dubai Watch Week as we collectively grow and further innovate our industries.
What else is in the pipeline for the coming year?
Dubai Watch Week is a biennial event, and we’re looking forward to the travelling edition of the Horology Forum in 2024. We have some exciting prospects for the event location and can’t wait to share more in the coming months.
Dubai Watch Week is scheduled from 16th to 20th November 2023 at The Gate, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).